Sometimes all that’s needed to do good in the world is a group of people rallied behind a good cause, and that’s what Jenny’s Warriors aims to accomplish.
Jenny’s Warriors, a local charity group in Ajax dedicated to spreading awareness of kidney disease, is one such group. The warriors were founded by the five Taylor siblings, who started the group in honour of their mother.
Jenny Taylor said in addition to the fund-raising benefits of Jenny’s Warriors efforts, she is pleased that the family-based charity also brings her children and grandchildren together with a very positive goal regarding kidney disease.
Jenny was diagnosed with acute kidney injury (AKI, also known as acute renal failure) four years ago and was forced to be placed on dialysis when her kidneys failed. AKI occurs when the kidneys are suddenly unable to filter waste products from your blood, causing toxicity levels in the bloodstream to increase to potentially fatal levels.
“I was a perfect match to donate a kidney to my mom,” said Hannah Stojanovski, the youngest of the siblings and the head of Jenny’s Warriors. “But plans were put on hold when the kidney doctor warned me that I wouldn’t be able to have children if I donated to my mom. So I put donation on hold so I could have my family.”
Hannah and her siblings created Jenny’s Warriors with three goals in mind. The first is to spread awareness of kidney disease around Canada in order to help them identify the problem before it can develop too far.
“I think that, if you know you have [kidney disease] and you know it’s in your family history, you can start treatment with drugs,” said Hannah, “and you can be more aware of your body and how to treat your body in order to prevent it or prolong the need of dialysis. Whereas, with someone like my mom, all of a sudden her blood pressure skyrocketed and she needed dialysis. There was no warning, nothing we felt like we could have done ahead of time. It was just a shock.”
As of 2014, it is estimated that more than 2.2 million Canadians have, or are at risk of developing, kidney disease.
The second goal of the warriors is to raise funds to help the Kidney Foundation of Canada in its research projects to help the current and next generations of kidney patients. Their third goal is to create a community of support for individuals who suffer from kidney disease and their families.
“We have a friend right now who is pregnant and she has the hereditary form of kidney disease,” said Hannah. “They can see in the ultrasound of the baby that they already have the cysts.”
Alongside the Taylor siblings and their families, Jenny’s Warriors is aided by a number of people in the community. In February, the group held a silent auction and luncheon fundraiser with the aid of seven families, and local event planner Design Events on a Dime, which brought in more than 100 people and $3,500.
The warriors also participated in a kidney walk on Sept 18, where they raised an additional $1,720, meaning more than $5,200 has been raised so far in 2016. All of their donations go to the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Jenny received a kidney transplant this April from an anonymous deceased donor and is no longer on dialysis. Her children continue to operate Jenny’s Warriors.